What do you all think of rompers? They are all the rage lately and I have been seeing them everywhere, but I have mixed feelings…
1. They’re cute.
2. They look kind of little baby-ish.
3. They look really comfortable and would be a great laid back look.
4. How do you use the bathroom? Do you have to take the entire thing off? Ugh, don’t wear one to a day drinking event.
5. They are really cute….maybe I will try an inexpensive one.



Blog Followers and Sponsorship

I just noticed that I am at 80 blog followers.  It is amazing to me that so many people want to follow and read my blog.  Thank you all for reading and commenting.  It means so much to me to know that someone can "hear" me.

I am introducing sponsorship on my blog.  So, if you are an Etsy shop owner looking for some more traffic, or just a blogger who wants more readers, contact me about putting your button up on my blog!

I work daily to increase traffic and write interesting posts that will keep readers coming back for more and attract new readers.

For my first 10 sponsors I am offering very affordable rates.  Email me for more details!

{There are no reason for these pictures, but I thought an entire post without any was a little boring!}


My crazy husband

All four of us

Win an Acute Designs Accessory!

Do you want to win one of the items from my shop?  If so, head on over to Waterwaif and enter the Acute Designs giveaway!

There are several ways to win and if you win you will get your choice of these:

Or of this:

Good Luck!

How To Make Product Tags

I am an avid reader (and have contributed an article) of Meylah. Never heard of it? Meylah is a fantastic blog with timely articles and tips dedicated to those in the business of growing their handcrafted business. On Meylah, you will see tutorials from how to make a banner to how to get more Facebook fans. You will also find articles with tips for saving money, increasing traffic, or avoiding shipping snafus.

Last week, I saw this tutorial about creating homemade tags. The article offered a few ideas that I had not thought of before. Thus far, I had been printing my tags on cardstock and handwriting the price on the back. This is all good and fine, but in order to make my tags stand out a bit and look more professional, I followed the advice on Meylah and tweaked my tags.

Also, I wanted hand tags to use for holding my sets of three flowered bobby pins. The tutorial was the perfect nudge in the right direction and this is what I made.

Materials you will need:
-Textured Cardstock
-Printed Mat Stock (in any pattern you prefer and that fits the esthetic of you rcompany)
-Corner Punch

1. Use the cardstock to print your logo, business name, and store website address (or any other info that you feel is necessary). Be consistent with your logo so that it becomes recognizable. Always use the same color and font.

Try to stay away from only using popular Microsoft Word fonts. You will notice many Etsy shops that use the same fonts over and over (I’m looking at you Papyrus and Comic Sans). Try to use a less common font or download a unique one from 1001 Free Fonts.

Copy and paste you’re your tag info over and over on your Word Document, ensuring that you leave room to cut a generous border around the info. It is always better to have a little extra paper than to be cutting it too close!

2. Once the logo sheet is complete, print and cut out each one. This is time consuming and a little boring so I usually do it while watching good reality TV!

3. Cut the printed mat stock paper into shapes similar to your tags, but slightly larger in order to leave a small border around the logo tag. Next, use the corner punch to punch the corners of the mat stock paper.

4. Use a glue stick to adhere the logo tag to the mat stock tag.

5. Either clip pins on to the tag, or punch a hole and string a thin ribbon through in order to hang the tag off a product.

Happy Birthday Elsie!

Today is my niece Elsie's first birthday.  I cannot believe that she is already one year old.  She is becoming such a big girl.  I haven't seen her in 5 months and am visiting her next weekend  - I hope she's still a baby!

Elsie was named after our grandmother who passed away about a year before she was born. 

A few weeks ago on Mother's Day almost all the blogs I followed had posts dedicated to their mothers. (I didn't do this. I am a horrible daughter!)  I loved seeing all of my favorite bloggers' moms.  All the yellowish tinted, circa 1970s-early 80s, photos were fantastic.  There is just something about an old photograph that makes people look better.

I decided to flip through my photos for yellowish tinted ones of my mom, and I ended up finding several of my grandma, the older Elsie.  I haven't looked at these pictures in a few years and I was struck by her beauty.  I wish I had inherited her skin - it's beautifully dark and looks so perfect. But I was more so struck by my memories of her.  She was so laid back, so loving, so kind.  The kind of person we all hope to be.  Or at least, to know.

The day before my grandparents were married.  This is my favorite picture of them.

This was taken before my parent's wedding.

See what I mean about the skin?!

My grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary.

A 70+ year old woman in a bathing suit!  She looks fantastic. This is how I remember her.

My grandma would be so proud to know that my sister named her baby Elsie.

{Baby} Elsie -  if you are half the woman your great grandmother was, you will be amazing.    Happy Birthday, I love you!

Things I want {possibly need} right now....

I guess I don't "need" anything, but there is a lot I want for my house and myself.  I want a new dresser.  The one I have was super cheap in cost and make and is falling apart. And I have had it since the summer after college - totally time for a new one!

I also still need a new rug

And, I could use a new lamp for my bedside table.

An antique map of Ireland - it would look nice framed.

And a dress {or two or three} for an engagement party and a wedding I am attending this summer.

This is what I have found:

This Yellow Lamp is to.die.for.

Milk Glass Lamp -  I love me some milk gorgeous and simple.

This antique Map of Ireland would look fantastic framed and hung in my house.

I am rarely disappointed by Anthro's selection of dresses and I love this ruffled one.

Another Anthro Dress.  So simple and would look great with a wide belt.

This Ruche Dress looks lightweight and perfect for hot summer weather.

I am 1-800-obsessed with this Modcloth Dress.

Since I am always on a decorating budget, this affordable dresser from Ikea is perfect. I will paint it (obvs) and add some pulls.

Gap - 40% Off Sale

****Update***** I was wrong - it is actually Gap Outlet stores that are 40% off this weekend.  I am not sure I can handle an outlet mall and a sale like this on a Saturday.  Maybe I will find the strength!

Allegedly, everything at The Gap will be 40% off this weekend.  I have been a Gap wearer for a long time.  I love it for basics (tanks, underwear, sweat pants) and the pants and jeans just fit me really well.  (I have a hard time finding affordable pants and jeans that fit well...I guess we all do!)  And, every once in a while I am blown away by a dress I see at the Gap.  I am not all impressed with their current line-up of dresses or tops, but I am in love with a few things (mostly pants).

The sale is for in store at Gap or Gap Outlet only.  Since I am half sane,  I will not go to an outlet mall on a Saturday, but I am willing to go to a regular mall.  I mean, 40% off is a lot of percents off, so it only makes sense that I should buy all of the following....

I do love their jeans and I am obsessed with these Cropped Skinny Jeans are perfection to me!

More cropped, this time in Khaki.

This Dress is my style...the rest of the stuff on the Gap site is too bohemian and not enough chic for my tastes.

And Pants again.  These are adorable.

When I first saw the 40% off ad, I was super excited and thought I would love more of the current Gap items, but I don't.  Seriously, some of the stuff just looks like a joke this season.  They are so hit or miss.

Either way, I will go for the above and save 40%!

Nautical Necklaces

Nautical is big this season and to me two things from this trend stand out - rope and stripes.  I just bought this shirt from Target and love it:

To play off the nautical trend and this necklace that I spotted at Anthropologie:

I made some necklaces from rope (they are actually curtain tie backs from the fabric store - they are already the perfect length and are thick and sturdy).

These will be up in my Etsy shop soon!

Do you want to quit your day job?

At the beginning of 2010, I set a goal for myself.  This goal was to quit my loathsome day job.  Right now, the year is nearly half over and I am still not ready to take the plunge.  I keep saying that I need to get my business "there."  But where is "there?"  What I really need is to get my courage and my mind "there."  That "there" I can pinpoint far easier than the business "there."  Am I confusing you?  Let me explain....

I often read "quit your day job" articles in the blog and Etsy world and I am always motivated for a few days after I read one, then my fears take over.  Today, I read a post called "How to Stop Screwing Around and Really Quit Your Day Job."  This article really inspired me and offered a few good tips:

1. Create an "FU fund" and have a few months of cash saved up just in case.  Personally, I have some money in my "FU fund", but not enough.  I am going to concentrate on growing it a bit before I, well, say "f**k you."

2. Calculate a "squeak by" budget.  Meaning, how much do I really need to just survive?  Once I have this calculated, I am going to put the rest of my cash into my "FU fund" and voile! I can quit...right?

Here's the deal - I am scared. I am scared of not having enough money for the extra things in life.  Luckily, my husband has a good job and he can pay the bills (and supplies us with that ever important minor detail called health insurance). My consistent and easy to obtain paycheck enables us to do a lot more with our lives (travel, buy clothes and other wants, eat good food, etc).

I am told time and time again that I am "Cray-zay! Especially in this economy!" to quit a well paying and stable job.  I am crazy at times, but I am also practical.  I do not want to end up in major debt or groveling at the temp agency for another crappy job that makes me not want to get out of bed in the morning. 

That is my fear.  Having to go back to work in a year if this doesn't work out.  Having to admit that I failed and that my life really will be an endless string of Jill Jobs.

What I need to do is push my fears aside and take the plunge.  There has to be more to life than wishing for Friday.  There really has to be.  I am going to find it. I might be poor for a while, but at least I won't be wishing my life away.

I have three mini trips/long weekends planned this summer which will eat up extra money.  After that, I am done. You heard it here first. I am done by the end of the summer (just writing that makes my heart race).  Now, I just need to convince my husband to that this is a good idea...

What about you? Do you dream of quitting your day job, or have you already done so?  What tips do you have to inspire those like me?.

Customer Appreciation Pics

Do you ever use this feature on Etsy?  When you buy something and leave feedback, there is a spot to upload a photo.  I have bought a few things on Etsy, but I have never put a picture in the feedback section, but I am going to start doing so.

A few weeks ago I sold this custom dog bed and the customer posted a picture of her lovely little dog using the bed.  I nearly cried when I saw the picture.  First of all, her dog is so adorable and secondly, it warms my heart and excites me to see a complete stranger getting joy out of something I have made.

Isn't this adorable?  I want to squish Lola!

I have a gold addiction

If you are around my age (born in the late 70s/early 80s) then you will remember a time when silver was all you wore.  I am talking about high school.  Gold jewelry was gross...only my mom and grandma wore gold!

At some point (probably around 2002), gold jewelry started to creep in....but it was only cheap, once in a while stuff.  As the years went on, I bought more and more costume jewelry and started to wear my grandma's previously scoffed gold jewelry.

Now? Well, I am obsessed.  Besides my engagement ring and wedding ring, which are platinum and white gold, all I wear is yellow gold or copper toned jewelry.  Or jewelry with gold and copper accents.   All my silver pieces are jammed at the bottom of my jewelry box, waiting for the day when it might be worn again.

Interview with Belli Uccelli - Etsy Artist and Bird Fanatic

A few weeks ago I decided to rreach out to some new-ish Etsy sellers who make and or sell items that I love and ask then their secrets.  In doing this process I have found some shops that I adore.  It is amazing how there is an endless amount of fantastic shops on Etsy.

As any faithful reader of this blog know, I have an absolute bird obsession.  So, when I saw Belli Uccelli on Etsy, I knew I had to feature the artist.  Emelia, Belli Uccelli's owner, has been gracious enough to answer a few questions about selling, marketing, and the ever important photography (she also has an incredible photography shop on Etsy called Emelia Jane Photography). 

Print from Belli Uccelli

1. Why did you start selling on Etsy?

I was first introduced to Etsy by some friends of mine and quickly became enthralled. I loved the idea that I could sell my art work from my own home and have a world-wide audience. I first opened my photography shop, Emelia Jane, and once I was Etsy savvy my second shop, Belli Uccelli, was soon to follow!

2. Do you sell anywhere else (on or off line)?

Yes! I sell my work at galleries and at a few small local (and very sweet) New England shops.

3. Do you have long term plans for your shop and business, or do you just kind of play it by ear?

I sure do! I hope to continue to expand both of my businesses! I have a million ideas for new bird illustrations (new ideas flash through my head every moment!) and I have a lot of future projects that I am just itching to start. My birds are extremely detailed and take a long time to complete so updating my shop takes a while.  I have been working on a few new illustrations and plan on adding some larger originals (at the moment I am offering original ACEO’s in my Etsy shop) I am also planning on offering custom work in the future. 

Print from Belli Uccelli

4. What do you think is the best way to market your shop, both on and off line?

I have found that the best way to market my work is...

* Always have a business card handy. I strike up conversations all the time and when people are interested in your work it is wonderful to have your information handy (I have made some Etsy sales this way and also secured a few wholesale accounts!). Always remember that the person you give your card to may not be your buyer, it might me their friend or the person who picks it up at the coffee shop where it was left!
*Blogs...When someone blogs about you it is fantastic exposure and can lead to a lot of traffic in your shop.
*Etsy forums have worked brilliantly for me. I have made some great Etsy friends and connections and it always sends people your way!
*Having a personal website and blog. People love to see what you are up to and having a website gives an extra glimpse into your life and style. (You can visit Emilia at her personal site.)

My favorite print from Belli Uccelli...I love the colors

5. Are you solely an Etsy seller, or do you also buy? If you buy, what elements of other shops appeal to you?

Yes, I love shopping on Etsy...I have found the most amazing treasures! I love shops that are completely unique and offer something that is clearly well made. My two favorite purchases so far are an adorable set of Christmas Ornaments from Bossys Feltworks and a glow-bowl strand from One Black Bird. I look for quality, great photos and honesty and detail when describing a product.

6. Do you have a desire to quit your “day job” and make a full time living off your Etsy shop {I know I do!}? If so, what do you think is necessary for you to achieve that goal?

Well... both fortunately and unfortunately I was laid off from my job which led me to sell my artwork full time. I was thrown into it but when I realized that I had the opportunity to focus on my work full time I hit the ground running! I got together a portfolio of my work, made appointments with galleries and shops, mailed cd’s with digital images to out of state locations and marketed through friends and blogs. I am loving my new career!

An ACEO (Art Cards, Editions and Originals) from Belli Uccelli

7.Where do you find inspiration for the items you create or renew?

I am inspired by nature, my love for birds and my family.  I have had a passion for both drawing and birds since I was a wee thing. My Baba (grandmother) was a book illustrator and painter and she played a major role in my love and admiration for art. My Bumpy (Grandfather) taught me the importance of nature and gardening, I credit him for my sharp eye and my fascination with our feathered friends. 

I love this calming photo from Emilia Jane Photography

8. Do you have any tips or ideas for successful selling that are out of the ordinary, meaning we all know we must provide quality products and good photos, but what else?? be honest I cannot think of anything out of the ordinary that I do to promote my work.  I just talk about my work all the time and promote, promote, promote!

I love old, unique dishes...such a pretty photo!

9. What have you learned in your short time of selling on Etsy that you wish you would have known the first day?

I did not discover the forums for a few months into selling on Etsy. I wish that I has explored around a little more, I think that the promo’s are a wonderful way to introduce your shop to people and get the word out.

10. The photographs in your fine art photography shop are fantastic. I know that many Etsy sellers {myself included} struggle with taking photos that are “Etsy front page” worthy. What do you feel is the most important thing amateur photographers should focus on to take amazing photos?

Thank you so much for the compliment!  My advice is to keep it simple.

I find that the photographs that focus simply on the item that you are trying to sell are the best. You can have props in your photograph (they can be great!) but make sure that they compliment your item well and that it is not distracting to the buyer. I am also a fan of indoor shots. I have seen a lot of people photographing a beautiful necklace or amazing quilt hanging from a tree branch or on a dirty porch. If you are going to photograph your items outside do it with style and make sure your setting looks clean!

11. Do you think the camera quality matters as much as the skill of the photographer? Do you have any good recommendations for an inexpensive, user friendly camera that would take great up close and macro photos (the type of photos that Etsy sellers typically take)?

When I am taking a photograph of an item such as jewelry or a vintage item I use an old nikon cool-pix (basically a point and shoot). I love this little camera! It takes great macros, focuses well, and has a lot of options.

You also do not need any fancy equipment for taking a good photograph of your item. I always use natural light and photograph indoors. I use cheap tricks to get my light right such as wrapping a piece of cardboard with aluminum foil and reflecting it on your piece. One of the best things about digital is you can experiment over and over.  Really get to know your camera and all of its features, you can get great shots with a little practice and once you know what works best for your items stick with it.

My absolute fav photo in Emelia's photography shop

Stop by Emilia's two Etsy shops - Belli Uccelli and Emelia Jane Photography

It finally happened....

My shop was featured on the front page of Etsy!  I signed up through the site Statsy to be notified via email when/if this happened.  Late Friday night I received the email I had been waiting to receive.  I was so excited!

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